Money matters for Marine Protected Area's
Imaginative solutions needed for cost effective marine management
This year's World Oceans Day theme is "Healthy seas, healthy planet". And a "healthy economy" is underpinned by diverse and healthy seas. Scotland's thriving marine tourism accounts for an annual Â£3.1 billion from wildlife watching, sailing, kayaking, surfing and angling whilst general recreation and tourism amounts to Â£2.4 billion. The fishing industry contributes over Â£500 million to the Scottish economy. But effectively managed creeling by local boats, may provide better returns to coastal communities. According to a recent study published by the New Economics Foundation, prioritising creeling in inshore waters proves to be a fairer, smarter, safer, healthier and higher value options.
The Scottish government is rolling out a network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) that will improve management of many inshore waters as well as contributing to the marine economy. Our community is determined to make MPAs work, but is disappointed to still be waiting for our government to disclose its plans and resources for effective co-management. For example, we have already voiced our concerns on the potential impacts of increased creeling in the South Arran MPA, an issue that has also been raised by the Scottish Creel Fishermen's Federation.
To overcome financial constraints, our government needs to be imaginative and seek help from all stakeholders, specifically local communities who are keen to become involved in cost-effective solutions. COAST has already offered to deliver a community-led project to monitor changes in creeling effort over the next months. Projects like this also promote local understanding and stewardship of MPAs.
We are looking forward to working with our newly appointed Cabinet Secretaries Roseanna Cunningham MSP, responsible for marine environment, and Fergus Ewing MSP, responsible for fisheries. We have high expectations on their ability to work together on a common agenda of healthy, diverse and well governed seas for the benefit of all current stakeholders, but especially future generations.
It is time for decisions to be made. Together.